Down to Earth Romance

During Ellora’s Cave Publishing’s early years, to write for them was a sign a romance author had “made it.” Many aspiring and seasoned authors wanted to write for Jasmine Jade Enterprises, and the competition for a contract was fierce. Ellora’s Cave was a pioneer of the ebook industry, and shot erotic romance into the heart of mainstream romantic fiction. The company spawned several copycat publishers, and the competition, including the rise of self-publishing, eventually led to its decline. Things got ugly. But my purpose for this farewell post is not to disparage the organization, but to remember the good times.

I wrote for Ellora’s Cave for years under another pen name, and when I decided to go mainstream, and asked for the return of rights to my books, I had no idea I would escape one of the most divisive business collapses in romance publishing history. I was spared the grief of flagging sales, unpaid royalties, and acrimonious departures. My memories of Ellora’s Cave are still filled with days of bright-eyed optimism, their fabulous convention parties, generous gifts and awards to authors, and their boost to my early career. I try to hold on to those thoughts, though my heart goes out to author friends who were hurt by Ellora’s Cave’s downfall.

Here’s a look back at the last of the glory days, during a visit to their offices in Ohio, on the eve of the first Ellora’s Cave RomantiCon in 2009. I found these pictures in an old file on my flash drive, and thought it would be fun to post them.

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Ellora’s Cave mobile book trailer, parked inside their Ohio warehouse.

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Ellora’s Cave authors tour the print shop, warehouse, and shipping facility that printed and stored our books and filled customer orders. (left to right: Samantha Cayto, Dalton Diaz, Adele Downs, Mari Freeman, Lee Pearce, Nina Pierce, Samantha Kane.)

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The print shop and paper roll for the printing press. It was fascinating to watch a book being created.

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Our books were stored in the warehouse opposite the print shop.

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Printing the pages of a single book.

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Producing the cover art.

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Cutting and binding the pages into a completed product.

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The warehouse where our books were stored.

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The SuperStar Award presented to me in 2009 from the publisher for two of my books. (Currently out of print and circulation.)

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The official Ellora’s Cave mascot, housed in an enormous glass case inside the entrance to the editorial offices. Personally, I wouldn’t have wanted my office or cubicle anywhere near this snake, but the EC staff didn’t seem to mind.

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The Ellora’s Cavemen cover models and their choreographer. The Cavemen attended all our author events and conventions for readers, and were a lot of fun to hang out with.

Farewell, everyone. Good-bye to a golden era.

(Photos copyright Adele Downs and may not be copied or reproduced without permission.)

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